I start this post with a caveat: I know there are great church staff members who feel incredibly blessed to be in their position. I know many others who struggle, though. I pray for them based on these recurring issues staff members have shared with me over the years:
- Some feel “left out” of the leadership loop. They are responsible for carrying out the church’s agenda, but they have little or no say in what that agenda is. They are often leaders by nature then forced into a follower role.
- Some have families who are struggling connecting. It’s often easy for staff members to get connected to the church because they’re with church people most of the time. Their families, though, sometimes suffer loneliness in silence.
- Some are living on insufficient income. I confess that as a pastor, I sometimes expected our church to hire the absolute best candidate even though we were offering a “less than our best” salary package. We almost forced staff members and spouses to work another job.
- Some are in the wrong seat. I’ve written about this general problem before (here and here). When you know you’re not in the right position, coming to work every day is hard. On the other hand, it’s often frightening to tell anyone, lest you jeopardize the position you do have.
- Some want to be the lead pastor. That’s when being a staff member gets really hard. You begin to evaluate everything your pastor does on the basis of, “Is that the way I would do it?”
- Some see declining budget dollars and wonder about the security of their jobs. Most of us assume that the lowest (and sometimes, the newest) on the staff ladder will be the first to go if the church must make difficult budgetary calls.
- Some feel siloed and alone. They’re doing their job – and doing it well in many cases – but they still feel like they’re working alone. Simple things like “how are you?,” “thank you,” and “good job today” just don’t happen.
- Some feel great pressure to produce. They know they will answer to someone if their area of ministry isn’t seeing growth. In those situations, accountability – a necessary thing – becomes unhealthy pressure.
- Some are expected to produce, but with few dollars to get there. They have responsibilities to fulfill and goals to achieve, but they’re expected to do so with little funding.
- For many, no one is praying regularly for them. Our Church Health Surveys have shown for years that few church members pray regularly for their pastor and staff. I want to help change that pattern.
Take some time right now to pray for your church’s staff members. If you know them, pray for them by name.